Higher Education

The development of a new scientific discipline requires focused education of young scientists engaged in the new discipline

Faculty, staff, graduate student and post-doctoral researchers from all of the U.S. and SoilTrEC CZOs mingle along a roadside in the White Mountains of Crete during a joint meeting and field trip hosted by the Technical University of Crete and Koiliaris CZO during September 2008.

Educational Resources (examples for Higher Education)

  • Grades K - Professional

    Mt. Lemmon science tour app

    All Disciplines

    App & Tour

    Preview

    Catalina-Jemez

  • × A view from Mt. Lemmon.  Two hikers stand on a rock outcrop and look down onto the steep valleys below.

    Grades K - Professional

    Mt. Lemmon science tour app

    All Disciplines

    App • Tour

    Use a narrative "science tour" app for the drive up Mt. Lemmon in the Santa Catalina Mountains near Tucson, Arizona. Travel from desert to pine forest, listening to the audio guide and watching slideshows and videos. Learn how our world is sustained by natural environments, systems, and cycles.

    Educational Objectives

    Describe the natural history of Mt. Lemmon with special attention to geology and biology. The tour follows the Catalina Highway to the top of Mt. Lemmon.

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    Audience: K-12 • General Public • Higher Education • Research Community

    Observatory: Catalina-Jemez CZO

    Author: Producer: Shipherd Reed (Univ. of Arizona)

    Funding: NSF CZO, Contributions from UA College of Science and other regional organizations

  • Grades 15 - 16

    CZ Science 0. Undergrad course (7 modules)

    All Disciplines

    Curriculum

    Preview

    National

  • × A Pennsylvania cliff, illustrating a cross section of the Critical Zone with trees, soil, and bedrock.

    Grades 15 - 16

    CZ Science 0. Undergrad course (7 modules)

    All Disciplines

    Curriculum

    This 15-week upper-level undergraduate course introduces and examines the life-sustaining services and resources provided by the Critical Zone using publicly-available CZO data and literature. This course is hosted by InTeGrate SERC (Science Education Resource Center).

    Educational Objectives

    At the end of the course students will be able to:

    • Analyze technological advances, breakthroughs in interpretation, and new observations to build their understanding of the Critical Zone in and beyond the class.
    • Use a large variety of scientific principles to analyze how Earth's land surface works.
    • Apply data sets and observations from multiple existing CZO sites to test ideas and summarize Critical Zone services.
    • Describe the Critical Zone as a complex system of interacting regolith, water, air, and life.

    Find additional information in the course's Instructor Materials

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    Audience: Higher Education

    Observatory: National CZO

    Author: Timothy White (PSU), Adam Wymore (UNH), Ashlee Dere (UNO), Adam Hoffman (DBQ), James Washburne (UoA), Martha Conklin (UC Merced), Susan Gill (SWRC), Editor: David Gosselin (UNL)


    Contact:


    Funding: National Science Foundation–funded SERC InTeGrate project

    Related Resource:

  • Grades 9 - 14

    What is the Critical Zone?

    All Disciplines

    Information & Video

    Preview

    Cross-CZO

  • × Illustration of the Critical Zone, showing a slice of Earth's near surface pulled out of the ground.  Labels are shown for air, biota, soil, water, and rock. Image credit: After Chorover et al, 2007. Catalina-Jemez CZO (artwork by R. Kindlimann).

    Grades 9 - 14

    What is the Critical Zone?

    All Disciplines

    Information • Video

    A short web page that answers questions like: what is the Critical Zone? Why it is so important? Why does it need to be studied? The page includes text, images, and video.

    Educational Objectives

    Be able to discuss where the Critical Zone fits on Earth's surface and its importance to Humans and all life. 

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    Audience: K-12 • General Public • Higher Education

    Observatory: National CZO • Boulder CZO • Calhoun CZO • Catalina-Jemez CZO • Christina CZO • Eel CZO • IML CZO • Luquillo CZO • Reynolds CZO • Shale Hills CZO • Sierra CZO

    Author: CZO National Office

  • Grades 13 - 14

    The Case of the Muddy Waters: Hydrofracturing impacts

    Hydrology

    Computer Activity 

    Preview

    Shale Hills

  • × Muddy, brown water rushes down a stream. Image: Brantley, S. (2014, April 9)

    Grades 13 - 14

    The Case of the Muddy Waters: Hydrofracturing impacts

    Hydrology

    Computer Activity 

    The Case of the Muddy Water uses authentic data to investigate the impacts of hydrofracturing. The objective of this lesson is to introduce the potential impacts of natural gas extraction through data analysis.

    Educational Objectives

    Conceptual Learning Outcomes

    • Students are introduced to the potential impacts of natural gas extraction on water resources
    • Students learn about topography and water sources in Pennsylvania
    • Students develop reasoning and data analysis skills

    Practical Learning Outcomes

    • Students use HydroClient to discover, download, and view data
    • Students answer questions using the Larry's Creek Watershed Profile Fact Sheet from the Susquehanna River Basin Commission
    • Students answer questions about and graph turbidity and precipitation
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    Audience: Higher Education

    Observatory: Shale Hills CZO

    Author: Sharon Dykhoff (Dominion Christian School), Susan Brantley (The Pennsylvania State University), and Liza Brazil (CUAHSI)

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The most successful of these education activities has been the CZO International Scholars program. Through support from NSF-International Programs-Europe since 2007, 54 graduate students within and outside of the CZOs from 16 universities througout the United States have visited more than 20 European host institutions and field sites. In the process, the student travelers have broadened their scientific knowledge and perspective, availed of unique expertise and instrumentation not available in the U.S., and generated data sets to compare to information gathered from field sites and labs at or associated with the various U.S. CZOs. A compilation of abstracts and papers derived in whole or in part from this support is available under associated files (see below). The program will continue in 2015 through 2019 due to funds provided to the CZO National Office from an NSF Science Across Virtual Institutes grant.

A group of six CZO collaborators are currently working to develop a new undergraduate curriculum in Critical Zone science. Their effort is supported by the NSF-funded InTeGrate program and aims to develop a new semester-long course comprised of stand-alone, ~two-week long modules. The course has been fully developed and moved into the testing phase at 6 universites - in 2015 that course content will be available on the SERC website and here for anyone to use in their courses.

Tim White, as national coordinator, and Susan Gill, Stroud Water Research Center education director, developed a successful Research Experience for Undergraduates program that places 6 undergraduate students each at the Christina River Basin and Shale Hills CZOs during the summers of 2014 through 2016. The results of those REUs were presented at the 2014 biennial meeting of CUAHSI entitled Water Across the Critical Zone, and will soon be available for download here.


The higher education program has also been enriched by close CZO ties to its European counterpart, Soil Transformations in European Catchments (SoilTrEC), a research initiative that includes 4 CZOs in Europe. Each year SoilTrEC stages a variety of graduate student and post-doctoral research training workshops and meetings and graciously invites U.S. students and other participants, while the U.S. NSF has provided funds to support limited participation in some of those workshops. Most recently, 14 U.S. students, half from within and half from outside the formal CZO program, participated in a reactive transport modeling workshop held at the Technical University of Crete in July 2012.

Georg Lair, Manos Kotronakis, and Taru Lehtinen in Crete, October 2012.

U.S CZOs have also hosted European graduate students and post-doctoral researchers for training events. Here three graduates of the 2010 Critical Zone field school held at the Susquehanna-Shale Hills CZO, Georg Lair, Manos Kotronakis, and Taru Lehtinen, share a moment together in Crete at the annual meeting of SoilTrEC, October 2012.

Georg Lair, Manos Kotronakis, and Taru Lehtinen in Crete, October 2012.


Associated Files

Intlscholarspub
(88 KB pdf)
List of abstracts and publications derived from International Scholars funding provided by the US NSF.



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